Norwegian Cuisine: Taco Spice Mix

Delightful chatter - Taco Spice Mix

One of Norway’s most popular dishes is taco. Yes, very logical and oh so Scandinavian, but we still love it. Many Norwegians eat taco once a week and Friday night seems to be the days where most of us devour our tacos. Well, to be honest, to call it taco might be seriously offensive to those who really know what taco really is, or can be, but it is easily pronounced, easily made, and totally tasty!

Many Norwegians eat the processed versions you find in the store: salsa in a jar, quacamole in a tin, and taco spice mix out of a paper bag. Of course these do not taste like or contain the same as the real deal, but many can’t look past the quick fix. A few years ago I came across a recipe for a mix-yourself-taco-spice-mix, I tried it and have never after gone back to the one-portion bag from the store. This is better in so many ways: it tastes better, it’s cheaper and you control the amount of salt you use. It takes you ten minutes to make the first time, and then your set for several Friday-night-tacos to come.

(! Tablespoons)
3 T chilli powder
1,5-2 T sea salt
2 T cumin
2 T powdered paprika

(! teaspoons)
2,5 t garlic powder
2,5 t crushed chilli flakes2,5 t dried oregano
1-2 t cayenne pepperDelightful chatter - Taco Spice Mix

Norwegians normally use mince meat, and for 400 grams I use one large tablespoon of spice-mix. I also toss in a small teaspoon in salsa and guacamole. The mix is, of course, also perfect for mexican inspired soups or casseroles.

Please let me know if you try!

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The Day Before the Big Day and Risboller

It’s the day before the big day for everyone except my wee brother: today is his birthday. He’s turns 23 today and is not very happy having his birthday the day before Christmas eve. He complained when he was younger that the reason it wasn’t cool having his birthday the day before Christmas was that his hands hurt so much after spending two entire days unwrapping presents. Anyway, a wonderful brother to you wee brother! May you crush all your opponents playing Fifa.
The day has been spent hurrying to get everything ready in order to spend the evening with the family. Today is called ‘little Christmas eve’ in Norway. In our family the tradition is to decorate the tree, with the tv on in the background. On tv is the annual christmas show on the state-owned national channel (à la BBC) playing christmas tunes  and discussing ways to cook the perfect ‘ribbe’. The pinnacle of the evening is the wee film ‘Dinner for one’ which is always shown at around nine in the evening.
A few cookies were served during the day, making sure the kids were high on sugar as well as high on life in general. Son did not go to bed voluntarily tonight!
One of the cookies served today were ‘risboller’ (ris=rice, boller=sweet rolls). These are in no way related to sweet rolls though. Think chocolate covered, puffed rice. Again a type of traditional and seasonal cookie, as good as it is simple.
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
Whisk this until it’s fluffy. Melt the other ingredients:
  • 100 grams chocolate
  • 85 grams of coconut fat
  • 3 tablespoons of coffee

And add with the sugar and egg. Then add as much puffed rice as you please, but make sure you are able to cover everything with the chocolaty goo. Place about a tablespoon full of mix in muffin cups and store somewhere cold. Enjoy 🙂

Norwegian cuisine – Chinese apples and rice

Now, I don’t really now if this should be classified as Norwegian cuisine, but as I’ve never had it anywhere else, I’ll be so bold as to at least add it to the recipes from my kitchen, making it at least slightly Norwegian…

This is a simple dessert made from rice, oranges, and whipped cream. The unjust title is due to the Norwegian name for orange (appelsin /a:pelsi:n/ that is with a back vowel /a/) which is borrowed from Dutch, which has again just translated from French ‘Pomme de Sine’, which means ‘Apple from China’. The Norwegian name for this dish is ‘appelsinris’ (orange rice), and thus: Chinese apples and rice.

This is what you make for dessert when you have leftover rice from dinner (or make extra rice when you want this for dessert). And it’s dead simple. Peel and dice the orange, whip cream (add a bit of sugar to weigh up for the healthy dinner) and mix it together with rice. I would say even portions of rice and cream, but that depends on how you like it. Sugar also depends on your sweet-tooth. I add about one teaspoon pr decilitre (about two teaspoons pr cup). Serve cold. Enjoy 🙂

Mashed swede

Please join me further down the path of Norwegian delicacies. Today we have a very simple dinner planned: sausages and mashed swede (or rutabaga if you like).

The big, round root is first sliced, then peeled (using a small knife, don’t bother with no potato peeler) and diced. Put in a pot, add water to just about cover the root, put a lid on and leave on medium heat to simmer for a while. To check if it’s done pierce a piece with a sharp knife, if the knife won’t hold the piece of swede then consider it done. Drain, add a pinch or two of sugar, add a wee bit of milk or cream and a spoonful of cream cheese (if you like). Mash it all up using either a masher or a hand blender. A swede can without problems be mashed using a hand blender (potatoes should not). I often add a carrot or two to the mash. The carrots are then sliced and boiled with the swede.

I served this with lamb sausages (which you really should try if you’re in the area!)

Swedes are people too and should not be confused with the root-vegetable which is the subject of this post. No Swedes were hurt making this dish.

Norwegian cuisine – lapskaus

I can’t think of a stew more common in Norway than ‘lapskaus’ is. The are of course a multitude of varieties, and no two recipes are the same, but the ingredients are often the same, and very “Norwegian” if you like, in that they are easy to get hold of and produced or grown locally. Wikipedia claims the name has its roots in German and English and was introduced in the 18th century. The dish itself, however, I do believe has been around a little longer.

We had my in-laws visiting and the ingredients I then used for five adults and a wee man (two-year-old) was as follows:

  • 500-1000 grams of meat (pork, beef or lamb is preferred, bones creates more flavour, and if the meat is cured or a little salted then all the better)
  • 8 potatoes
  • 1 medium sized swede (or rutabaga if you like, I find it hysterical that a vegetable has the same name as our neighbours in the east)
  • 1 celery root
  • 6 carrots
  • 1 leek
  • salt and black pepper

Dice everything (or, well, slice the leek and carrots) into approximately equal-sized pieces. Layer in a big pot starting with the meet, continue with swede, potatoes, celery root, carrots and finish off with leek. Add water up to about a third of the contents in the pot. My rule of thumb here is that when I can spot the water in between the veggies, it’s enough.

Heat it up then leave to simmer for as long as you’d like. This is a dish we often make before going on a Sunday hike. We leave the house for several hours and come back for a ready made dinner. Perfect! 

Yule goats (Julegeiter)

Roll out as regular rolls, a little more oblong, then make a cut in each end

This is a local type of sweet rolls associated with the yule season. I don’t know how common it is outside the city boundaries, I have grown up with it living in a small town across the fjord, but many of the people I’ve met living in the outskirts of the city have never heard of it. It could also be decreasing in popularity, or the younger generations are less fond of it than their parents and grandparents. I have often been met with questioning faces when asking for it in the local supermarkets, but they usually sell the rolls in every one of them.

Dette er en lokal bollelignende gjærbakst som vi spiser til jul. Jeg vet ikke hvor vanlig den er utenfor byens grenser, jeg har vokst opp med dem i en liten by over fjorden for Stavanger. Mange jeg treffer fra utkanten av Stavanger har aldri hørt om dem. Kanskje er de ikke like populære som de en gang var, eller så er den yngre generasjonen ikke like glad i dem som sine foreldre og besteforeldre. Jeg har ofte blitt møtt med spørsmålstegn av ansikter i butikkene her, men likevel ser det ut som de fleste dagligvarebutikker selger dem til jul.


I don’t know what gives these rolls their peculiar name, yule goats, but one theory is the cut end of them resembling the hoof of a goat. The only thing that makes these rolls different to regular sweet rolls is the rye flour and the syrup.

Jeg vet ikke grunnen til det noe spesielle navnet, men en teori er at kutten i endene ligner på en geits hov. Ellers er den kun sirupen og rugmelet som gjør disse bollene annerledes fra vanlige boller.

Mother demonstrating the correct technique for rolling out the rolls

 

The how-to of the dough is the same as here, except the syrup which is added with the liquid.

Tilberedning av deigen er lik som den her, bortsett fra sirupen, som enkelt tilsettes væska i begynnelsen.

5-6 dl of milk

A bit of yeast, amount depending on how much time you have to let it rise

4-5 tablespoons of syrup

About 650 grams of wheat flour

200 grams of rye flour

5-6 dl melk

4-5 ss sirup

Litt gjær, mengden avhenger av hvor lang tid du har til heving

Ca 650 g hvetemel

200 g fint rugmel

100 g smør

Cook at about 225 degrees until tanned. Eat with brown goat cheese for ultimate Norwegian experience.

Stek på 225 grader til de er blitt gyldenbrune. Spises med brunost og godt smør.